March 26, 2012
After record mild winters in much of the U.S., celebrating the arrival of Spring may seem anticlimactic, but springtime in Lakeland, Fla., still has it attractions -- jasmine in bloom, calm blue skies, and thousands of airplanes en route to Sun 'n Fun. The weather outlook for this year's show is looking very promising, especially compared to last year, when torrential rains were followed by a destructive tornado. On Monday, the parking and camping areas all were manicured and ready, with no mud to be seen, and sunny, relatively calm weather was forecast through at least the next few days.
The show grounds are manicured and ready to go, with a few new features that return visitors might notice. An area by the flight line is lined with chairs for "premium seating" for the daily afternoon airshows, improvements to the grass runway at Paradise City are continuing, and a seemingly endless swarm of golf carts circle the show grounds, filled with smiling staff and volunteers eager to offer help, advice, and rides. The afternoon airshows are overflowing with show acts and fly-bys, including the new Black Diamond civilian jet team, Patty Wagstaff, Michael Goulian, Kyle Franklin, and Chuck Aaron in the Red Bull helicopter. The popular night airshow returns on Friday, and the Thunderbirds visit over the weekend. AVweb staff will be here all week to bring you daily reports, podcasts, and videos from the grounds.